Sunday, December 26, 2004
Thanks to BBC for its earthquake's coverage
It's a bit difficult to talk about editorial quality when such a catastrophe happens. But BBC has done an incredible good work in a few hours in all the countries struck by the today's earthquake and tsunami. In my opinion, one very important thing is that national victims (in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia...) were treated as well as foreign tourists. That's not the case in all coverage of this event: sometimes, you could think that only tourists were killed or injured.
Source: BBC News
Friday, December 24, 2004
Some rest for the Editors Weblog
Dear reader, dear editor,
It's time to take a break. Happy holidays and happy new year! We will come back beginning of January. And we will propose you our latest report, "TRENDS IN NEWSROOMS 2005". A 100 pages document which is, in fact, a synthesis of the 2,000 postings published in this one-year blog. A sort of Christmas gift!
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Outsourcing: Reuters to strengthen Bangalore operations
According to sify.com, "Reuters plans to strengthen its operations in Bangalore through recruitment of more journalists and carrying out more editorial activities over the next six months."We are locating a number of important editorial activities to this (Bangalore) team over the next six months," a Reuters spokesperson told Business Line. The spokesperson said that Reuters had earlier announced that 20 journalists would be recruited in Bangalore. It now expects to have around 40 journalists in place by the middle of 2005... He said the number of staffers for the company's data operations is expected to grow to 400 by the end of the year."
Source: sify.com. See also former mails related to outsourcing.
What journalists can learn from bloggers?
It's a very balanced article written by Steve Outing, Poynter online about what bloggers and traditional journalists can teach one another. I have selected some quotes: "Mainstream journalists could learn a few things from bloggers. And by doing so they just might ensure their survival in a media world turned upside down by the Internet. Bloggers and mainstream journalists likely won't end up as twins, but perhaps cordial cousins... "
"Let me suggest that current trends are pushing mainstream news organizations toward a new way of doing journalism that is a bit more blog-like...
The Internet, of course, has speeded up the news publishing cycle. No longer is it easy for a news organization to sit on a big story and publish it at a set time, when all the dust has settled...
"We have owned the printing press for centuries; now the people have the power of the press" through blogs, Jeff Jarvis, Buzzmachine says. "They are speaking and it's our turn to listen and engage them in conversation." To do that represents a profound shift in the type of journalism practiced in the U.S. and most Western countries with?a free press...
One significant difference between mainstream journalism and blogging is the way each handles its mistakes. On this one, the bloggers seem to have an edge. With much in common as well as many differences, bloggers and mainstream journalists should be looking to one another for ideas on how to navigate our newly revised media world.
Source: Poynter online
Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on December 23, 2004 at 12:06 PM in a. Citizen journalism, c. Multimedia convergence, i. Future of print, m. Improving editorial quality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
US: how did an institution with a brave history of safeguarding democracy become a threat to its survival?
Danny Schechter, editor of Mediachannel.org sent me this article two days ago as a global comment on 2004. His thoughts can be compared with Mark Glaser views (see former posting today). They seem belonging to two different planets. Schechter writes that "It has not been a good year for journalists and journalism... The big fear, as journalists die, is that journalism itself may soon follow. Some years back, I read a book about the emergence of the "post journalism era" cataloging the abandonment of a commitment to real news in the news business. It spoke of how packaging and "mechanics" and compression and infotainment defines the new uber-merged corporate media order. At the time, that indictment seemed alarmist, and premature. Not any more..."
"The Committee's State of the Media report showed a system that is devolving and losing credibility. Here were a few of the main findings:
1. A growing number of news outlets are chasing relatively static or even shrinking audiences for news. That audience decline, in turn, is putting pressures on revenues and profits.
2. Much of the new investment in journalism today is in disseminating the news, not in collecting it. Most sectors of the media are cutting back in the newsroom. While there are exceptions, in general journalists face real pressures trying to maintain quality.
3. In the 24-hour cable and online news format, there is a tendency toward a jumbled, chaotic, repetitive and partial quality in some reports, without much synthesis or even the ordering of the information.
4. Journalistic standards now vary even inside a single news organization. Companies are trying to reassemble and deliver to advertisers a mass audience for news not in one place, but across different programs, products and platforms. To do so, some are varying their news agenda, their rules on separating advertising from news and even their ethical standards.
The last item makes projecting a consistent sense of identity and brand more difficult for news organizations, reinforcing a public perception that the news media lack professionalism and a sense of any duty to the public interest."
Not at all the atmosphere of self-congratulations that I denounced in the Mark Glaser article.
Time archives made available
Good news related by Mediapost: "Time magazine has announced that it will make its full archive of articles, dating back to its inaugural issue in March 1923, available to its subscribers. The archive will provide access to over 266,000 articles at Time.com. In addition to the category article search, the archive also includes unique search features, including a Time covers archive, a "Find Your Birthday Cover" function that allows users to view the cover that was featured on the day they were born, and "First Mentions"--which lists when famous people were first discussed in the magazine. The new feature will also be interactive, as users can send queries to archive editors." A very good example of what is valuable for readers and subscribers: newspapers archives are incredible resources!
Blogosphere: worrying atmosphere of self-congratulations
Usually, I like Mark Glaser's comments and his work at OJR. But this week, it's too much! At the beginning, nothing unusual: the columnist tries to see what was relevant in the year 2004 and he outlines the role of the bloggers and the beginnings of hyperlocal citizen journalism. Why not? But read the conclusion: "For way too long, it has been the mainstream media (MSM) that's played God with the American public, telling everyone what's news and what's not, what to play up and what to downplay. But 2004 was the year the power started shifting, that the Little People, if you will, started to tell the gods of media what the public really wanted." And the rest of the article and his colleagues' comments gives the impression of a long self-congratulations, even if Glazer remarks that "the bloggers weren't the be-all, end-all for 2004." And on which point is based the self-congratulations? On the failure of CBS and Dan Rather about the controversial "60 Minutes" report on President Bush's National Guard service. As if this is the definitive proof that traditional journalism will not survive! Sure there was a failure - and a major one -, but is it a reason to throw the baby out with the bath water? News organizations have always had to struggle for better fact-checking, but it is more difficult to manipulate a whole newsroom than a community of bloggers by definition more permeable to persuasion, rumors and sometimes PR companies (not to say governmental campaigns). Another point of disagreement with Mark Glaser: his wish to speak on behalf of "Little People". But who is he asking when commenting 2004? A very small panel of insiders with basically the same views (there are two or three exceptions in his list of "colleagues"). It is the Michael Moore technique: take people who share the same ideas and you create an opinion movement! That's not fair! It's impossible to ask for more "fresh air" and get to find again a sort of suffocating air of "blog correctness" (I don't know if the formula exists in English). Last point concerns the arrogance of some of Glazer's colleagues, though not him personally. Perhaps mainstream media are arrogant and maybe they have to modify their behaviour. But this is the build-up of 50 years' practice (when television began to challenge newspapers' supremacy). It seems that, in the blogosphere, five months were enough! Next step? Arrogance will become what the ancient Greeks called "hybris".
Jail and stock exchange, the two faces of China
The two pieces of news broke up the same day and it revealed a lot on today's China. First read this euphoric article by China Daily: "Today's trading debut of Beijing Media on the Hong Kong stock exchange marks the first overseas flotation of a mainland newspaper - a significant step to modernize China's media industry. The ground-breaking listing of the advertising and sales unit of the Beijing Youth Daily, one of China's most popular newspapers, will help lift industry standards while giving international investors an unprecedented opportunity to invest in China's media industry. The retailing portion of this initial public offering has been covered 422 times - a figure which bears full testimony to overseas investors' great interests in the newspaper and the promising Chinese media market it represents. The Beijing Youth Daily reported a 20 per cent increase in revenue last year to 900 million yuan (US$109 million), and after-tax profits of 150 million yuan (US$18 million)." And now have a look on the The Guardian's article...
"The Chinese police arrested one of the country's most influential journalists yesterday in the latest phase of their campaign to stifle critical discussion by prominent liberal intellectuals. The detention of Chen Min, the chief editorial writer at China Reform Magazine - who wrote under the pen name Xiao Shu -, has heightened concern that the Communist party may be reverting to old-style repression to counter the spread of independent thinking on the internet, in the universities, and in the increasingly bold media organisations. Coming after the arrest or demotion of at least half a dozen other "public intellectuals" - a term of former media praise that has suddenly become an expression of political abuse - it has upset the hope that President Hu Jintao will allow more freedom of expression than his predecessor, Jiang Zemin." Nothing to add.
US: new developments for the "continuous newspaper"
According to John N. Wilcox, president and chief operating officer of Ottaway, "Now, people expect to get the news on their desktops, laptops and cell phones not only once a day, but whenever it breaks." Ottaway, the parent company of The Daily Item, recently signed contracts to install a new content management system for print and online services at its daily and weekly newspapers in nine states. The project has been in the planning stage for more than two years. At The Daily Item, installation of the new equipment will commence in July 2005 and will offer the Susquehanna Valley area innovative ways to receive information and advertising messages electronically throughout the day, using a variety of electronic devices. The content management system will also streamline the traditional printing methods that are used to generate this newspaper daily, while offering expanded archiving capabilities.
Ottaway Newspapers Inc. is the community newspaper subsidiary of Dow Jones & Company. Ottaway publishes 15 daily newspapers, 12 Sunday newspapers, 18 weeklies and numerous specialty publications and web sites in nine states.
Source: Daily Item
Norwegian Schibsted Group seeking to buy Finnish Alma Media for EUR 705 million
According to Helsingin Sanomat, "Norway’s biggest media concern, Schibsted ASA, has made an unsolicited public offer to acquire Finland’s second-largest publishing and media group Alma Media for the equivalent of EUR 705 million, according to statements released to the Helsinki Exchanges on Tuesday morning by both companies. According to the Schibsted statement, Alma Media would be "a perfect partner". "The two companies complement each other both geographically and operationally", noted the Schibsted CEO Kjell Aamot. The statement continues that "It is Schibsted’s perception that Alma Media is a well-run company with skilled management and a strong position within newspapers, TV, and new media."
Schibsted is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, and is active in newspapers, TV, and Internet operations. Among the Group’s titles are the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet and the late-edition tabloid Aftonbladet. A week ago the company increased its holding in the largest Swedish commercial TV station TV4 from 5% to 20%. In the Norwegian market, Schibsted publishes the country’s largest daily Verdens Gang and the second-largest paper Aftenposten. The company also has a majority holding in the Eesti Meedia group in Estonia, which publishes the daily Postimees among others.
Alma Media’s largest shareholder is the Swedish publishing house Bonniers, with around 33% of the votes. The company owns the commercial TV channel MTV3, the country’s second-largest late-edition tabloid Iltalehti, the Tampere-based broadsheet Aamulehti, the business and financial journal Kauppalehti, a nationwide commercial radio station in Radio Nova, and a clutch of provincial newspaper titles. The Group employs around 2,400 persons.
Source: Helsingin Sanomat through IFRA newsletter